Imminent … just what does that mean? As I have said before, the definitions I use come from Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. He defines it as:

IM’MINENT, a. [L. imminens, from immineo, to hang over; in and minor, to threaten. See Menace.]
Literally, shooting over; hence, hanging over; impending; threatening; near; appearing as if about to fall on; used of evils; as imminent danger; imminent judgments, evils or death.

Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

The timing of the Rapture is argued in Christian circles, I am sad to say. But the pre-tribulation Rapture is the only one whose timing is imminent. The other views depend on signs to occur.

If a man knew that a thief was going to come to his house at 8:00 p.m. on a given night, he would be prepared. But what did Jesus say?

Mat 24:36  But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Just as in the Galilean weddings of Jesus’ day, the groom did not know when he was going to return for his bride until his father told him he could go. How perfectly that fits to the pre-tribulation Rapture! Jesus’ return is as a thief in the night. No one will expect Him at a given time!

Mat 24:42-44  Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.  (43)  But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.  (44)  Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Mat 25:13  Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

The Tribulation period is filled with timing: it’s seven years long; the Antichrist defiles the temple after three and a half years, etc. Since we do not know the timing of the Rapture, it makes sense that it would occur before the Tribulation. It can’t possibly happen after the Tribulation, because then we would have a time. God is specific throughout the Bible, even to the day! Because of this, that is why He tells us to watch!

No where in the New Testament Scriptures do we find suggestions on how to prepare to live through the Tribulation. Instead, we are told to comfort one another.

1 Th 4:18  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Th 5:11  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

Why would Paul tell the Thessalonians to comfort and edify one another if they had to go through the Tribulation? There is no comfort in knowing about the horrific things that were going to happen during those seven years! The beginning of the Church was not a time of peaceful existence but was a time of great persecution. Because they believed that the Rapture could happen at any time, they were encouraged to comfort each other as they waited for the Blessed Hope. (Titus 2:13)

One point I’d like to make is to those procrastinators out there. If you knew that Jesus would come at a certain date, you would wait until the last minute to get into “spiritual shape.” You would wait to witness to that lost relative. HOWEVER, because you do not know the time of His return, you stand ready because you are always watching!

You may have come across those who believe that the pre-Tribulation Rapture is a new theory invented in the early 1800’s. However, they stop there. The have not researched any further into earlier writings. Recently, biblical researchers have found several writings from early Church fathers who clearly held a pre-Tribulation Rapture viewpoint.

The First Epistle of Clement, 23 (written around 96 A.D. by Clement, a prominent leader of the church at Rome who knew some of the apostles personally and probably is the Clement referred to in Phil. 4:3): “Of a truth, soon and suddenly shall His will be accomplished, as the Scripture also bears witness, saying, ‘speedily will He come, and will not tarry.’”

As early as 70 – 180 AD, The Didache, chapter 16, section 1, says, “‘Be vigilant over your life; let your lamps not be extinguished, or your loins ungirded, but be prepared, for you know not the hour in which our Lord will come.”

“But what a spectacle is that fast-approaching advent of our Lord, now owned by all, now highly exalted, now a triumphant One!” (Tertullian 155 – 245 AD).

All the saints and elect of God are gathered together before the tribulation, which is to come, and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins” (Pseudo-Ephraem (374-627 AD).

John Calvin, the reformer at Geneva during the 1500s and founder of the Presbyterian Church, made the following statements in some of his commentaries on books of the Bible: “Be prepared to expect Him every day, or rather every moment.” “As He has promised that He will return to us, we ought to hold ourselves prepared, at every moment to receive Him.”

The Westminster Confession, written by the Puritans of England during the 1600s, declared that men should “shake off all carnal security and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come.”

“I say, somewhat more because the dead saints will be raised, and the living changed at Christ’s ‘appearing in the air’ (1 Thess 4:17); and this will be about three years and a half before the millennium, as we shall see hereafter: but will he and they abide in the air all that time? No: they will ascend to paradise, or to some one of those many ‘mansions in the father’s house’ (John 14:2), and so disappear during the foresaid period of time.” (Morgan Edwards 1742-44).
I’m not much of a fan of relying on what scholarly men write about the Bible.

The Dark Ages (from about 450 AD to the 1600’s) were named for the condition of a spiritually dark world. Mankind was not allowed to read the Bible as it could only be interpreted by a priest. The Roman Catholic church was the universal church during that time. It was during this time frame that the church believed they were living during the millennium! This is called amillennialism and does not allow for a pre-Tribulation Rapture. It was not until the early 1600’s did we see premillennialism and the pre-Tribulation Rapture view reappear.

The “When” of the Rapture is the nucleus of the pre-Tribulation viewpoint. The Bible is its best interpreter. Scripture upon scripture, verse upon verse! The imminent return of the Lord Jesus to gather His Bride to Him is clear as you read the following verses:

Matt 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Matt 25:1-6 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.”

Mark 13:33-37 Take ye heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the Master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

Rom 13:11-12 Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

1 Cor 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Phil 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Phil 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

1 Thess 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

1 Thess 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

1 Tim 6:14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Titus 2:13 Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.

Heb 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Heb 10:24-25 Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the Day approaching.

Heb 10:37 For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

James 5:7-9 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

1 Pet 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Pet 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Rev 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

Rev 22:7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

Rev 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

The Tribulation is preceded by many signs as seen clearly in Matthew 24:3-51, 2 Timothy 3:1-9, and 2 Peter 3:3-4. That is why many believers today are sounding out the warnings of Christ’s return! His return is closer than when the Scriptures were written so look up for your redemption draweth nigh!

Luk 21:28  And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Jas 5:8  Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

Friend, if you are not born again, it is no coincidence that God has placed you here for such a time as this so that you may be saved if you are not already. Don’t you want to be a part of the Church when she is raptured into the clouds to meet Jesus? (1 Thessalonians 4:17) Please click here and the link will open up in a separate tab to You Can Be Born Again and Know It!